Reformer Exercises and Scoliosis


I am wondering which Pilates Reformer exercises I should focus on for Scoliosis.

Thank you!


Jennifer's Response:

Definitely the mermaid on the Reformer is a great exercise for scoliosis.

Depending on which side you have the concavity to you want to definitely focus this stretching exercise there.

So, lets say the curvature or the tight side is on the right then you'd want to stretch the muscles on that side or sit doing the mermaid with the right side away from the footbar so you push off with your left hand.

Your focus should always be on stretching or lengthening the tight right side and strengthing the longer muscles on the left side of the spine.

The great thing is that most all of Pilates Reformer exercises can do this for you.

While pulling straps lying on your back focus on pressing a little deeper and more on the left side so those muscles will get stronger and help to pull the spine back to a more neutral position.

Feet in straps doing leg lifts and lowers concentrate again on lengthening through the right side of the spine and tightening the left side.

I would also suggest doing the legs in straps unilaterally or with one foot working at a time in the frog leg position.

Footwork on the bar would be more helpful one leg at a time than doing both. The curvature in your spine may cause a pelvic imbalance making one leg work harder than the other.

With the lying exercises sometimes I put my clients who are more advanced and that have scoliosis on a half or full foam roller to help with their spinal imbalance as well.

While on the roller they are constantly working to stabilize the spine by lengthening and strengthening the appropriate side to stay balanced.

Lying on the long box pulling straps is helpful for extension in the spine and, anytime you are pulling with the arms focus your strength to the left or longer side and the lengthening or stretching to the shorter tight side of the spine.

These pages have some helpful information about reformer exercises and for people with scoliosis.

See my Pilates Upper and Lower Body Workouts here.

Exercise for people with Scoliosis

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